La Holandesa [Messi and Maud] (2017)

La Holandesa
Director: Marleen Jonkman
Writer: Daan Gielis
Cast: Rifka Lodeizen, Guido Pollemans, Cristóbal Farias, Daniel Candia, Yasna Vasquez
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018

Maud (Rifka Lodeizen) and Frank (Guido Pollemans) are traveling in Chile. It is supposed to be a bit of a reset for the two of them, as their relationship has been strained: they have been trying to have a child together, but they have to face the fact that they may not be able to at all. But when Frank confronts Maud head-on with that, they have a fight and Maud just leaves. Going on a road trip, she meets Messi (Cristóbal Farias), a young boy who has nobody to take care of him. Messi starts to accompany Maud on her trip.

I have very mixed feelings about La Holandesa. It’s well made, if a little long, but it’s also very white for a film set in Chile and that left me with a weird taste in my mouth.

La Holandesa is at its best when it focuses on Maud and Frank. Their relationship becomes instantly alive. In only a few words and scenes, you can feel the entire weight of the years they shared, including all the pain that has built up between them.

But the film would rather spend more time with Maud and Messi. And while Farias does a great job, especially for a boy so young, I was left feeling very uncomfortable with how things unfolded. It’s bad enough that this is yet another film where a white woman travels abroad to find herself in an “exotic” location; but in this film, a brown child becomes the object of her search for herself, which just left me with my eyes narrowed that extra bit.

That set-up tainted my entire enjoyment of the film. And even if I had been able to take that better, the film still had lengths, despite the fact that I did like the characters and was interested in their story.

But I did like the music, especially the song they played during the credits. And, as I said, the performances are strong and Chile is stunning, so it wasn’t a complete loss. But I didn’t love it, either.

Summarizing: generally mixed.

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